When to Split in Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the best games you can play at a casino. It offers the best odds out of any casino game, and if you learn some basic strategy, you can greatly increase your chances of winning. 

There are many aspects to the strategy of Blackjack. One of these is splitting. Let’s go into the rules and strategies of Splitting in blackjack.


Splitting pairs is an option when you are dealt two of the same cards, such as two eights. When this happens, you have the option to split the pair where you now have two hands. You will have to match your original wager; then the dealer will give you one more card for each of the hands. 

There are different times when you should and shouldn’t split. This will depend on the table rules, the dealer’s hand, etc. The basic strategy for splitting is as follows:

  • Always split Aces and 8s
  • Never split 10s
  • Split 4s only if you can double on split hands


Alright, now, just because you CAN split doesn’t mean you SHOULD split. We’ll go over when you should and shouldn’t split your pairs.



split aces blackjack

This is a basic rule of Blackjack: Always split your Aces. Even if the dealer is showing an Ace, you should still split. If you don’t split this hand, one of the aces is valued at 10, and the other is valued at one. So that means only a nine could get you to 21. On the other hand, if you split, there are so many cards that have a value of 10 that would give you a win as well. Never hesitate to split your Aces. 


split eights blackjack

Another basic strategy is to split your Eights. It’s not a great hand to have as your initial hand because any card above a five will make you bust. Splitting these cards will give you a much better chance of getting a better hand.


Now, this is a strategy that is based more on probabilities. If the dealer has a true bust card, meaning a 4, 5, or 6, then you should think about splitting. Remember, the dealer is going to bust around 29% of the time, no matter what their card showing is. That means that almost a third of the time, you can still win no matter what cards you get, as long as you don’t bust. 

So, against a true bust card, the dealer’s chances of busting increase. Check out the odds of the dealer busting based on their up card.


4. PAIRS OF 2s, 3s, or 7s

blackjack split two

This is a bit of a controversial strategy since your cards are so low. However, according to the math, there are certain times when you should split these pairs. If you get any of these pairs and the dealer’s card is a seven or lower, you should split. 

This is because the dealer has a pretty bad hand as well. Splitting these pairs gives you a better chance to get a good card that can allow you to win or even double down if the rules allow it. You are basically transforming a losing hand into a winning one.

5. PAIRS OF 6s

six split blackjack

In general, you never want to split a pair of 6s. However, there is an exception to this rule. If the dealer has two through six showings, then you should consider splitting your sixes. The same as above, they have a lower or mid-card so their chances of hitting blackjack are not that great. Splitting gives you a better opportunity to win with one of your hands.



This is another very basic rule in Blackjack. You should never split tens. You have a very good hand, and splitting only makes you split up that amazing hand into two potentially regular hands. Always keep this hand.


split four blackjack

Fours is another pair that you should never split. When you hit, the highest-value card will only give you 19, which is a pretty good hand. If you split, then only a five, six, or seven can give you a better hand than your original pair.


Wow, you have two fives; that means it’s a 10! That means you should double down unless the dealer has a nine, 10, or Ace. If you split this pair, you will likely be left with a lower-value hand or one that could make you bust later in the hand. 


Now, of course, some of the strategies for splitting will depend on the dealer’s upcard. The most basic rule is if the dealer has an Ace, you should not split. The only exception is if you have a pair of Aces. The dealer will make a winning hand more often with an Ace, and that means you would have to make a 17 or higher in order to potentially win. The odds of that happening are not enough to justify you splitting your Aces, so it’s better to just avoid it.


Remember to always know the rules of the type of Blackjack game you’re playing as well as the table rules. These will vary from table to table. The strategy we’ve given you is mainly a guideline. Many factors can have an effect on the odds, so keep that in mind. 

The best way to try out this strategy is to go out and play, whether at a land-based casino, an online casino, or even just a friendly game at home with friends. Get out there and practice! Looking for a different game to play at the casino? Check out our seven most popular casino games.

Alan Lemus
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